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Tuesday, 10 February 2004

Me Myself & I

Pamela Drury (Rachel Griffiths) should be a happy woman. She's smart, successful, and living a trendy inner-city lifestyle. But while she's got it all as far as her chosen path is concerned, she's starting to worry whether she's chosen the wrong path. Marriage, children, the love of Mr Right; things she once scorned are all starting to look pretty good to her now. Then, thanks to a chance encounter with herself - or at least, the version of her who did marry Mr Right, AKA Robert (David Roberts) - she gets to find out the colour of the grass on the fence's other side. And it's not as green as she thought...

The single and desperate version of Pamela is a little too cliched for Griffiths to really shine, but once her character forced to start struggling with an instant family she - and the film - start firing on all cylinders. This is the kind of film that could easily slip into preachiness, but unlike the very similar Sliding Doors, this keeps both lifestyles balanced (if there's a message, it's that being married is just as crap as being single), and even when tackling suicide attempts and ex-marital affairs it keeps a light and humorous touch. It's hard not to like a film that gives prominent product placement to a box of 'Home Brand' breakfast cereal, and though the humour level's set to smile rather than thigh-slapping, there's enough warmth in Griffith's performance to stop audiences from sitting through Me Myself & I wondering what if they'd decided to do something else with their time.

Anthony Morris (this review appeared in Forte)

One Perfect Day

When his sister dies from a drug overdose, arty composer Tommy Matisse (Dan Spielman) returns to Melbourne from conducting bag lady operas in London. Once home he fights with his girlfriend (Leeanna Walsman), gives up classical music to become a DJ, and faces off against an evil drug dealer (Andrew Howard) - who is now molesting Tommy's drug-addled now-former girlfriend and who wants to get into the music industry with him. If you've been waiting for a movie that feels like some doped-up teenager is babbling to you about some amazing night they had then wait no longer, because this hysterically over-the-top film is either amazingly bad or somewhat compelling depending on how prepared you are to laugh at the bad acting, dodgy plot, wacky visuals and countless weird moments (did we need to see the drug lord shave his chest?). Anti-drugs (it pretends it isn't, but when drugs kill two main characters you kinda get the message) but pro the mystical magical powers of recording ambient sounds and turning them into lame dance tracks, this is the kind of film that has to be seen to be believed - but probably shouldn't.

Anthony Morris (this review appeared in Forte)

Tuesday, 13 January 2004

Thunderstruck

When it comes to a premise for a road movie - and an Australian road movie at that - you simply couldn't ask for a better one than the one Thunderstruck kicks off with: after rocking out (and almost making it into the drug-, booze-, and women-packed afterparty backstage) at a 1991 AC/DC concert, five mullet and black t-shirt wearing friends (Damon Gameau, Stephen Curry, Ryan Johnson, Callan Mulvey, and Sam Worthington) make a pact. When one of them dies, the remaining four will bury him next to the Fremantle grave of original AC/DC singer Bon Scott. Yeah, we all know Bon's ashes were only just scattered at Fremantle cemetery, but it's an honest mistake. Disappointingly, this pledge doesn't result in the quintet suddenly trying to off themselves in an laugh-packed attempt to win the prime burial site, and it takes twelve years until one of them (okay, it's Sam Worthington) finally dies and the remaining four – much changed from their Acca Dacca-worshipping days – get back together to honour their pledge via a cross-country drive through an outback full of weird and nutty characters. Remember that great premise for a road movie? It turns out that that's all this really has to offer, as around the point when it's time to deliver the goods this falls apart in a mish-mass of half-formed characters, stillborn jokes, and shifts in tone that feel like the film-makers were groping for a direction they couldn't quite find. Even usually reliable performers like Curry flounder here, and a climax where a horde of AC/DC fans all but dance on Bon Scott's grave to the sounds of the lamest AC/DC cover band ever formed is hardly going to win over fans of the music. The scene where wheelchair legend Quentin bashes one of the leads is about the only highlight: this is such a disappointment when the title song (which kicks in over the end credits) goes "you've been...", it's hard not to yell out "ripped off!"

Anthony Morris (this review appeared in Forte #324)